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December 9, 2020

Statement from Rep. Pressley on Release of Fort Hood Independent Review Committee Report

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, released the following statement on the firing and suspension of more than a dozen Army leaders at Fort Hood and release of an independent report detailing the dysfunction on the military base.

“Today’s news that over a dozen Army leaders were fired or suspended for their grave failure in leadership at Fort Hood is a step toward exacting long-overdue accountability for the toxic culture and dangerous climate that has permeated the Army base for far too long.  But let me be clear, this is not justice – for in a just world, SGT. Elder Fernandes, SPC. Vanessa Guillen, PVT. Wedel-Morales, PFC. Rosecrans, SPC Delacruz and each of the servicemembers whose lives have been senselessly stolen while serving at Fort Hood would still be alive today.

“The release of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee’s comprehensive report is a damning confirmation of the serious and systemic problems I witnessed firsthand when I visited Fort Hood in September – a culture that breeds harassment, misconduct, intimidation and retaliation for those who stand up and speak out. As James Baldwin reminds us, ‘not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’ The Army must confront these deep and systemic issues swiftly and take decisive action to implement the systemic reforms called for in the report, including independent oversight of programs charged with responding and investigating cases of sexual harassment and assault and establishing meaningful and transparent protocols for responding and investigating instances of missing soldiers. 

“Servicemembers and their families deserve more from their government and should not have to worry about their personal health and safety while they are stationed on base. This crisis extends beyond Fort Hood and requires systemic solutions. I look forward to continuing to work with Chairwoman Speier and our colleagues to ensure that the Army immediately adopts the robust set of recommendations set out in the report in order to improve the safety and quality of life for those living on base and continues to dedicate urgent focus to these issues. Our servicemembers deserve nothing less.”

In September, Congresswoman Pressley traveled to Fort Hood as part of a Congressional Delegation investigating the recent spike in reports of sexual harassment, missing persons, and deaths among servicemembers stationed at the military base. Congresswoman Pressley serves on the bi-partisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence and is a cosponsor of the I am Vanessa Guillen Act to transform the military’s response to sexual violence and missing servicemembers.

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